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Number of atheists in Russia drops by 50% in just three years

© Sergey Pyatakov / Sputnik
The number of Russians who describe themselves as atheists has fallen from 26 to 13 percent in just three years, according to recent research. The share of those who back the Church's involvement in state politics has increased slightly.

The poll, conducted by the Russian independent research center Levada in late June, showed that the majority of Russians (62 percent) describe their attitude to atheists as "good and respectful," with only 8 percent stating negative feelings towards this group. These figures remain virtually unchanged since 2014.

At the same time, the share of those who describe themselves as atheists fell sharply over this period - from 26 percent in 2014 to 13 percent today. Nine percent of participants in the poll said that they considered themselves "very religious" and 44 percent said they were "partly religious."

Dollar

Price of War: Syria suffered $4.5 billion transport infrastructure losses since 2011

© REUTERS/ Ali Hashisho
Syria has lost $4.5 billion worth of transport infrastructure since the beginning of the civil war in 2011, with two-thirds of the country's railroads being completely demolished in the course of the protracted conflict.

The Syrian transport infrastructure sustained losses amounting to more than $4.5 billion over six years of civil war, the country's Transport Minister Ali Hammoud told Sputnik in an interview.

"The total sum of damages that the Ministry of Transport and related structures have sustained since the beginning of war and up to the present is estimated at $4.567 billion," Hammoud said.

Comment: Fortunately China is eager to help Syria rebuild: China given priority to help rebuild Syria


Heart - Black

London 'honor killing' Indian Muslim teenager 'raped, murdered & stuffed in freezer for dating Arab Muslim'

© Celine_Dookhran / Twitter
An Indian Muslim teenager was allegedly kidnapped, raped and murdered before her butchered body was stuffed in a freezer because she started a relationship with an Arab Muslim, a court has heard.

The body of Celine Dookhran, 19, was found inside a £1.5 million (US$1.95 million) home in Kingston last Wednesday after a woman in her 20s who had her throat slit alerted police from hospital.

The two women were said to have been Tasered, bound and gagged, and kidnapped by masked men. They were reportedly taken to a house in Coombe Lane West, where they were both raped and Dookhran was killed.

Attention

US patrol ship fires warning shots at Iranian ship in Persian Gulf

© U.S. EUROPEAN COMMAND
A US patrol ship fired several warning shots from a heavy machine gun at an Iranian craft that approached within 150 yards and ignored other warnings, Pentagon officials told reporters on Tuesday.

USS Thunderbolt opened fire only after it tried to warn off the Iranians over the radio, by firing flares, and blowing five short blasts from its whistle, the officials said. The warning shots were fired into the water, out of concerns of a possible collision.

The Iranian ship had approached to within 150 yards (137 meters), but "ceased its provocative actions" after the warning shots, US officials added. The vessel stayed in the area, which was described as being in "international waters in the northern Arabian Gulf," the Pentagon's preferred term for the Persian Gulf.

Pocket Knife

Man shouting 'Allahu Akbar' attacks Spanish police officers with a knife

© Joseba Etxaburu / Reuters
A knife-wielding man shouting "Allahu Akbar" has attacked police on the Spanish-Moroccan border, injuring an officer, according to Spanish authorities. The attacker was immediately arrested by Spanish law enforcement.

The incident took place at a border post between the Moroccan town of Beni Enzar and the Spanish-controlled city of Melilla on Tuesday, local media reported.


Stop

St. Louis County cops brazenly cover up camera to hide their corruption

Newly-disclosed documents show St. Louis County police sleeping on the job, lounging in a security office, and even covering a security camera to hide it.

St. Louis County Police have made headlines for highly questionable conduct on the job, as newly obtained public records reveal officers slacking en masse for cell phone time, sleeping on the clock, failing to perform required duties - including basic patrolling - and even taping over a security camera, in regular apparent attempts to conceal all of the aforementioned ... if not more.

Documents, video, and other materials obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch catalogue a number of similar incidents in which police tasked with patrolling Metro stations and protecting commuters instead slacked off en masse behind closed doors - and, at least once, away from the camera's watchful eye - even refusing to cooperate with transit officers.

Alarm Clock

More Transgender Rights? No, It's Only the Death of Meaning, Dear!

So here we are on the cusp of gaining the "right" to alter our own birth certificates to change the sex that the midwife proclaimed when we exited our mother's womb. Midwives? They know nothing. For millennia they have had the audacity to look between the legs of newborn babes and declare them to be boys or girls, solely on the basis of certain anatomical features.

Crusader

Australian Baptist pastor calls Islam 'a virus, a cancer we must destroy'

© Keith Piper/YouTube
Pastor Keith Piper
An Australian Baptist church that provides scripture to government schools has come under fire after a video surfaced of its pastor describing Islam as "a cancer we must destroy."

Keith Piper, the pastor of Liberty Baptist Church, based in the Sydney suburb of Cherrybrook, uploaded a video of one of his sermons on his YouTube channel last year. The video has recently resurfaced in the Australian media, prompting calls for an investigation.

In the video, Piper described the Koran as "a virus infecting the brains [of Muslims]" and he said Islam is "culturally incompatible with western Christian values."

He also said that Australian schools were rejecting western values and teaching "sodomy."

"Ungodly, leftist western leaders are afraid to teach the Bible, salvation and Christian values in state schools," he said. "Instead they teach sodomy and how to become a weirdo.

"Islam and Qur'an-practising Muslims are culturally incompatible with western and Christian values ... Islamism is a cancer [and] we must destroy that cancer."


Display

Delaware allows corporations to use blockchain to create and maintain transaction records

© Getty Images
The "corporate capital of the world" has just made it legal for corporations to use blockchain technology for stock trading and record-keeping. At the same time, a digital currency trading platform has been authorized to provide clearing services.

On Friday, Delaware Governor John Carney (D) signed a bill that allows state corporations to "use networks of electronic databases (examples of which are described currently as 'distributed ledgers' or a 'blockchain') for the creation and maintenance of corporate records, including the corporation's stock ledger."

A Blockchain, also known as a distributed ledger, is a digital record of transactions between parties on a network.

Traditionally, corporations have relied on intermediaries like clearinghouses, custodians, exchanges, fiduciaries, or banks to settle transactions. Each intermediary had to verify transactions with their own ledgers, which adds time and cost to each transaction.

Mail

California Scholar for Academic Freedom Writes Open Letter Responding to Extremist Zionist Media Campaign

[Prefatory Note: Below is an Open Letter prepared under the direction of Vida Samiian of State University of California at Fresno on behalf of California scholars defending against any effort to abridge academic freedom anywhere in the world, but particularly in California and the United States. The group has been recently sensitive to issues surrounding Israel/Palestine, Zionism, and alleged Anti-Semitism, but it also references attacks elsewhere in the world that encroach upon academic freedom.

The Open Letter references a defamatory article about me that recycles the by now familiar litany of mistakes, distortions, smears, and array of cherrypicking (mis)interpretations to create a false impression as to my actual views on controversial current issues. The evidentiary background of the article relies on the work of UN Watch, a supposed NGO that takes on all critics of Israel, especially at the UN, and made a habit of regularly launching harassing attacks on me during my six years as UN Special Rapporteur for Occupied Palestine. Their efforts included writing long derogatory letters to UN diplomats and public officials in governments complaining about my views, and urging my dismissal by the UN Secretary General. On this occasion as discussed in the Open Letter the attacks on me were contained in an article in the current issue of the conservative magazine written by intern, National Review, and can be found at <http://www.nationalreview.com/article/449164/un-anti-israel-bias-richard-falk-pro-iran-9-11-truther-investigates-jewish-state>